Whales counted from space

This video is called Breeding Southern Right Whales – Attenborough – Life of Mammals – BBC.

From the BBC:

12 February 2014 Last updated at 23:04 GMT

Scientists count whales from space

By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

Scientists have demonstrated a new method for counting whales from space.

It uses very high-resolution satellite pictures and image-processing software to automatically detect the great mammals at or near the ocean surface.

A test count, reported in the journal Plos One, was conducted on southern right whales in the Golfo Nuevo on the coast of Argentina.

The automated system found about 90% of creatures pinpointed in a manual search of the imagery.

This is a huge improvement on previous attempts at space-borne assessment, and could now revolutionise the way whale populations are estimated.

Currently, such work is done through counts conducted from a shore position, from the deck of a ship or from a plane. But these are necessarily narrow in scope.

An automated satellite search could cover a much larger area of ocean and at a fraction of the cost.

“Our study is a proof of principle,” said Peter Fretwell from the British Antarctic Survey.

“But as the resolution of the satellites increases and our image analysis improves, we should be able to monitor many more species and in other types of location.

“It should be possible to do total population counts and in the future track the trajectory of those populations,” he told the Inside Science programme on BBC Radio 4.

The breakthrough is in part down to the capability of the latest hi-res satellites.

In this study, Mr Fretwell and colleagues used DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 platform.

This is among the most powerful commercial Earth observation platforms in operation today, and can see surface features down to 50cm in size in its panchromatic mode (black and white).

The team selected as their test area a 113-sq-km segment of the Golfo Nuevo on the Peninsula Valdes, a location famed for its gatherings of calving southern right whales.

Even though these are large animals, they still only take up a few pixels in the satellite picture.

Nonetheless, a manual search of the scene found 55 probable whales, 23 possible whales and 13 sub-surface features.

Several automated methods where then trialled, with the best results coming from a combination of the very hi-res panchromatic view and a narrow band of wavelengths in the violet part (400-450 nanometres) of the light spectrum.

This coastal band, as it is known, penetrates 15m or so into the water column in good conditions.

The automated approach found 89% of probable whales identified in the manual count.

Different bands

WorldView-2 has spectral bands that allow scientists to pull out specific information in the imagery

Mr Fretwell cautions that there are limitations to the technique. For example, rough seas or murky waters will confound a search. But he believes, on the basis of the trial study, that satellite counting can become a very useful conservation tool.

“In this type of automated analysis you have to balance two types of errors – errors where you miss whales, and errors where you misidentify whales. If you push too hard one way, like trying to catch all the whales, you’ll increase the number of false positives. With our 90%, we had almost no misidentifications,” the researcher explained.

Southern right whales were a very appropriate target for the study.

These animals were driven to near-extinction in the early 20th Century. Recognised as slow, shallow swimmers, they were the “right” whales to hunt.

Their numbers have seen something of a recovery, but without the means to carry out an accurate census, it is hard to know their precise status.

Concern has also been raised of late because of the sightings of many dead calves in the nursery grounds around the Peninsula Valdes.

Prof Vicky Rowntree from the University of Utah is the director of the Ocean Alliance’s Southern Right Whale Program, and has spent many years studying the Valdes whales.

She said the new method would be a huge boon to her field of research.

“It’s going to be absolutely amazing. The other dimension of it is that many marine mammal researchers have been killed flying in small planes while surveying whales. So my great desire is to get us out of small planes circling over whales and to be able to do it remotely. Satellite data is wonderful.”

To hear more about southern right whales and satellite counting, listen to Inside Science with Lucie Green on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday at 1630 GMT.

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Argentine poet Juan Gelman, RIP

This video says about itself:

24 Jan 2014

Professor Ilan Stavans reads “End” by Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who died Tuesday at the age of 83.

By Rafael Azul:

Argentine poet Juan Gelman dies in Mexico City at 83

Juan Gelman, the celebrated Argentine poet, died in Mexico City on January 14, 2014. He was 83 years old and had lived in the Mexican capital since 1988. In addition to his poetry, he wrote a weekly column for the Buenos Aires daily Página 12.

Gelman, a prolific poet since childhood, published his first poem at the age of 11 in an anarchist journal (Rojo y Negro—Red and Black). He died a supporter of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her faction of the bourgeois Peronist party.

Between those two bookends was a lifetime of literary and political activism. Gelman was considered one of the most important Spanish-language poets, as well as a fighter against the Latin American dictatorships of the 1970s.

Gelman came from a family of Ukrainian immigrants. His father, José, who had participated in the 1905 Revolution in Russia, first arrived in Buenos Aires in 1912. Following the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917, José, a railroad worker, returned to the Soviet Union. He left again, in 1928. (In 1957, Gelman learned that his father had been profoundly disillusioned by the expulsion of Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and his forced exile). Gelman’s brother, Boris, introduced him to the poetry of Alexander Pushkin and triggered the future author’s commitment to poetry and journalism.

He spent his youth during the years of oppressive military regimes known in Argentina as the “infamous decade,” the period between the bourgeois-radical regime of Hipólito Yrigoyen, overthrown in 1930, and the military coup of 1943. These were years characterized by class polarization and powerful strike movements of the working class.

Gelman was 13 at the time of the June 1943 coup that three years later brought Juan Domingo Peron to the presidency.

The Second World War spurred the growth of industry in Argentina. The industrial suburbs of Buenos Aires, along with Córdoba, attracted immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, as well as workers from the nation’s interior. This phenomenon was accompanied by the growth of an urban middle class, on which the Peronist regime based itself.

In 1945, notwithstanding his father’s anecdotal sympathy for Trotsky, Gelman, a 15-year-old student in the elite high school Colegio Nacional Buenos Aires, joined the Stalinist Federación Juvenil Comunista (FJC, Communist Youth Federation).

Gelman continued to write and in the 1950s became part of the “Dry Bread” (Pan Duro) poetry group, a literary collective made up of Communist Party youth. In 1954, he became editor of the Communist Party newspaper La Hora and a correspondent for the Xinhua Chinese news agency. He published his first volume of poems, Violín, in 1956. In 1959, he published a second volume, El juego que andamos.

These volumes were followed by many others, including Los poemas de Sydney West, Bajo la lluvia ajena and Hacia el Sur.

Under the impact of the Cuban Revolution and Che Guevara’s guerrilla ideology, a split from the FJC formed the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR), which Gelman joined in 1967. Initially set up as an adjunct to Guevara’s ill-fated guerrilla operation in Bolivia, the FAR modeled itself after 1967 on Uruguay’s Tupamaro urban guerrillas. In 1973, it merged with the Montoneros, its Peronist counterpart.

It was against the FAR that the Argentine government in 1971, with the assistance of the Peronist union bureaucracy, unleashed the CIA-backed wave of kidnappings, torture and extra-judicial killings, with horrifying consequences for Argentina’s youth and working class. The disappearances escalated under Peron’s second government, and that of Isabel Peron (1972-1976), and finally during the military dictatorship that replaced it in 1976. Tens of thousands died in the repression.

In 1975, the Montoneros sent Gelman to Rome as part of a campaign to denounce the disappearances and other violations of human rights. A year later, in August 1976, Gelman’s 19-year-old daughter, Nora Eva, his 20-year-old son, Marcelo Ariel, and his daughter-in-law, María Claudia, also 19, were kidnapped by the regime. María Claudia, seven months pregnant, was sent to Uruguay, and kept alive until she gave birth. Nora Eva was freed. Marcelo was killed. María Claudia’s body was never found.

Gelman’s granddaughter was one of the scores of babies born to “disappeared” mothers and then handed over to families of security force members; the poet searched for her for many years until she was found in 2000.

The abductions would transform Gelman’s life. He campaigned to bring his son’s executioners to justice and searched for his missing grandchild. In 1979, he broke with the Montonero organization. In a rambling article published in 2001 in Página 12 (“Ajá”), he repudiated Montonero leader Mario Firmenich, for “suicidal policies” both before and after the 1976 military coup.

By breaking with what he called a “militarist delirium” in 1979, Gelman considered that he himself had prevented even more deaths. In this declaration, Gelman also indicted some of the Montonero leaders who went on later to become high officials in the right-wing Peronist government of Carlos Menem (1989-1999).

Upon his death, the Argentine government declared three days of official mourning.

Gelman’s extensive body of poetry brings together European and Latin American influences. He also published verse in the Sephardic Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish) language. He was a wordsmith, who took pride in modifying grammar, gender and usage in his poems.

Many of his later poems suggest a romantic tenderness and nostalgia, like this one invoking the disappeared—including his own children—who were thrown from planes into the sea or buried in unmarked graves:

If the waves sweetly lapped over your head…

If the waves sweetly lapped over your head

of the one that leapt into the sea / what about the brothers

that they buried? / do their fingers sprout little leaves? / trees? / autumns

that defoliate them as if voiceless? / in silence

brothers recall the time

they were two three fingers from death / they smile

remembering / relieved still

as if they had not died / as if

Paco could still shine and Rodolfo still gaze

over everything forgotten that he used to drag

on his shoulder / with Harold examining his bitterness (always)

bringing out the ace of spades / his mouth to the wind /

aspired life / lives / his eyes gazed upon the terrible one /

now they are talking about when

luck was on their side / no one did kill / no one was killed / the enemy

was mocked and a little of the general humiliation

was retrieved / with bravery / with dreams / on the ground

with all the comrades / in silence /

melting into the January night /

still at last / totally alone / with no kisses

[Si dulcemente por tu cabeza pasaban las olas...

si dulcemente por tu cabeza pasaban las olas

del que se tiró al mar / ¿qué pasa con los hermanitos

que entierraron? / ¿hojitas les crecen de los dedos? / ¿arbolitos / otoños

que los deshojan como mudos? / en silencio

los hermanitos hablan de la vez

que estuvieron a dostres dedos de la muerte / sonríen

recordando / aquel alivio sienten todavía

como si no hubieran morido / como si

paco brillara y rodolfo mirase

toda la olvidadera que solía arrastrar

colgándole del hombro / o haroldo hurgando su amargura (siempre)

sacase el as de espadas / puso su boca contra el viento /

aspiró vida / vidas / con sus ojos miró la terrible /

pero ahora están hablando de cuando

operaron con suerte / nadie mató / nadie fue muerto / el enemigo

fue burlado y un poco de la humillación general

se rescató / con corajes / con sueños / tendidos

en todo eso los compañeros / mudos /

deshuesándose en la noche de enero /

quietos por fin / solísimos / sin besos]

Gelman was honored with numerous awards in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Spain. He received Argentina’s National Poetry Prize in 1997, and he was the recipient in 2007 of the prestigious Cervantes Prize, awarded by the Ministry of Culture in Spain for lifetime achievement by a writer in the Spanish language.

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Spanish fascists threaten survivors of Franco dictatorship

'Crazy whore you are going to die' and nazi swastika, graffiti on Franco dictatorship survivor Gema Carretero's house

By Vicky Short and Paul Mitchell:

Spain: Fascists intimidate plaintiffs in Franco-era crimes case

20 January 2014

Fascists are intimidating plaintiffs who have launched a lawsuit investigating the crimes committed by the forces of General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the dictatorship that followed.

During that period up to 400,000 people were killed or disappeared and up to 300,000 children were abducted from jailed or executed parents. Not one Francoist official has ever been held responsible. …

Nothing has been done about the recent fascist intimidation either. One plaintiff, Gema Carretero from Leganés, a satellite-city of the capital Madrid, describes in her online petition, that “I am threatened with death by extreme right groups. You have only to see the photo. And no one listens to me when I ask for protection, I ask you for help.

“My name is Gema, and my father was killed by the dictatorship in 1965. Because of a lack of justice in Spain I had to go to Argentina to make a complaint to the judge Servini seeking justice in a prosecution for crimes against humanity in the war, after the war and the dictatorship.

“And for that reason there are people who live near my house that keep harassing me and threatening me. I have recently experienced graffiti in large letters on the front of my house, bearing the swastika, containing serious insults and death threats.

“I proceeded to denounce the situation. I met with the City Council and made a complaint to the court, but nothing has been done to defend our personal integrity. They have also smashed our door lamps and sprayed the neighbourhood with abrasive products.

“I’m terrified, I have fear and I fear for the safety of my family.

“Therefore I ask that you support me with your signature, to request that the Ministry of Interior and the Leganés Council undertake to provide the necessary protection for my family and the people, who like us, are threatened with death by right-wing terrorist groups.”

Because successive Spanish governments have not only refused to investigate these crimes in Spain but have severely punished those who have attempted to do so, Carretero and other relatives of those murdered by the Franco regime have sought justice in Argentina. A lawsuit was filed there in April 2010 by human rights lawyers in the name of six relatives who now live in that country.

Behind the lawsuit is Spain’s Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory. Set up shortly after the Zapatero Socialist Party (PSOE) government came to office in 2004, it was intended as an exercise in damage control over rising demands for a proper investigation of the Franco period, and has no teeth or authority. Also involved is Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who was debarred in 2010 when he attempted to start an investigation into the torture and executions under the Franco regime and declared them crimes against humanity.

Argentine Federal Judge María Servini de Cubría was appointed to investigate the accusations under international law, in which crimes against humanity have no limitations or jurisdictional boundaries.

As soon as the lawsuit was launched, the present right-wing Popular Party (PP) government of Mariano Rajoy pressured the Argentinean government not to allow Servini to use the Argentine Embassy in Spain to interview the victims and relatives, and also put every obstacle imaginable in the way of obtaining interviews over the Internet. As a result, over 200 plaintiffs and their lawyers have been forced to fly to Buenos Aires to give evidence, with hundreds more unable to go because of the cost or old age.

In September 2013, Servini issued international arrest warrants for four former Spanish officials accused of torture, only two of whom are still alive—policemen José Antonio González Pacheco, known as “Billy the Kid,” and Jesús Muñecas Aguilar. Only after pressure from the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances did Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardón reluctantly acknowledge the extradition requests and confiscate their passports.

This month, Servini has indicted 11 former Francoist ministers who are still alive, including José María López de Letona (Industry Minister 1969-74), Licinio de la Fuente (Labour Minister 1969-75), Alberto Monreal (Finance Minister 1969-73), Antonio Barrera (Finance Minister 1973-74), Fernando Liñán (Information and Tourism Minister 1973-74), Antonio Carro (Head of the Ministry of the Presidency 1974-75), Fernando Suárez (Labour Minister 1975), José María Sánchez-Ventura (Justice Minister 1975), José Utrera (Housing Minister 1973-74), and Rodolfo Martín (Interior Minister 1976-79).

However, Servini declared, “I want to clear up the fact that the ministers’ personal histories are not being scrutinized here, but simply their roles as active ministers in the Franco regime, which had a policy of committing gross violations of human rights.”

Servini’s conciliatory sentiments were echoed by Galician Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory secretary, Rubén Afonso Lobato, who said, “We have no special grudge against these people but we simply want them to tell us what they did and for them to be judged for their actions. No matter how old they are, they still have to own up to their actions.”

This week equally conciliatory statements were made by lawyers from the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory and other human rights organisations, who are pleading with Spain’s National Court chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza to be the “voice” of the victims and allow the extradition of Pacheco and Aguilar. In what is clearly an attempt to thwart the Argentine case, Zaragoza said that he would be willing to open a lawsuit in Spain “because those were crimes committed by and against Spanish people,” only to add, “If the case were opened, we should take into account the amnesty and the statute of limitations on legal claims.”

In the unlikely event the National Court ordered the extradition, the Council of Ministers would be able to veto the decision.

The author also recommends:

Relatives of Franco’s victims testify in Argentine courts
[17 December 2013]

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón debarred for 11 years
[14 February 2012]

Spain’s Garzón acquitted for investigation of Franco-era crimes
[9 March 2012]

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New national park in Chile

This video is called Wildlife of Tierra del Fuego Park, Argentina.

From Chile:

New National Park to be created in Chile

By Martin Fowlie, Wed, 15/01/2014 – 14:49

Tierra del Fuego, Chile will gain a spectacular new national park through a landmark public-private collaboration between President Sebastian Piñera and Fundación Yendegaia, a branch of Douglas and Kristine Tompkins’ conservation projects. Fundación Yendegaia will donate the former Estancia Yendegaia (94,000 acres) toward the creation of the new national park, while the Chilean government will annex 276,000 acres of adjacent government land, to be upgraded to national park status. The new park will be among Chile’s largest, only slightly smaller than the iconic and nearby Torres del Paine National Park.

The Tompkins were recently awarded a BirdLife Conservation Achievement Award at BirdLife’s World Congress in Ottawa, Canada.

Protecting 370,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, rare sub-Antarctic forest, lakes, and rivers, the park stretches from the Darwin Range to the Argentine border, and from the Beagle Channel to Fagnago Lake. Yendegaia creates a contiguous biological corridor between Chile’s Alberto D’Agostini National Park and Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park. The new park protects the last frontier of pristine sub-Antarctic beech forest, one of Earth’s largest remnants of Gondwana, the last supercontinent from 180 million years ago. Long declared a “Priority Site for Conservation,” the area provides key habitat for three species in danger of extinction (red fox, river otter, and ruddy-headed geese), and a broad range of native flora and fauna, included 128 vascular plant species and 49 bird species.

Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 104 – Darwin’s Fox: here.

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New lizard species discovery in Peru

This video, in Spanish, is about a relative of the recently discovered lizard species. It says about itself:

Here we report about what appears to be a Wreath Tree Iguana or Elegant Tree Iguana (Liolaemus lesmniscatus), a lizard which lives in different parts of Argentina and Chile.

From Wildlife Extra:

New lizards discovered in Peru

Three previously unrecognised species names after cultural icons

December 2013: Three new lizards have been discovered in the Andes by Peruvian and American biologists from San Marcos and Brigham Young universities respectively. These lizards have been ‘hidden’ and confused with other lizards of the same group because of their overall similar appearance.

However this study, which includes molecular, ecological and more detailed morphological analyses, has identified them as new species. The new study shows that with few resources, multiple different lines of evidence can be integrated to discover new species and provide a basis for more stable scientific names. Species with scientific names tend to become more ‘visible’ to national and international governments and organisations devoted to biodiversity conservation.

Species that are not formally described and without scientific names will often not enjoy the protection of conservation programmes – an issue of pivotal importance in the Andean, Patagonian, and Neotropical regions of South America. The new species are named after and dedicated to two different old Andean civilizations, Chavín and Wari, and an Inca ruler, Pachacutec. Liolaemus pachacutec was found above Písac, an Inca ruin built by Pachacutec. Liolaemus chavin was found in an area close to the center of the Chavín culture, where reptiles and other animals were represented in some remarkable artistic expressions. Liolaemus wari was found close to the center of Wari culture, in Ayacucho department, southeastern Peru. The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.

Argentine dictatorship’s secrets discoveries

This video about Argentina says about itself:

Blood Ties – 54 minute documentary – trailer

First the junta murdered their sons and daughters. Then, it stole their grandchildren. Under Argentina’s harsh military dictatorship, an entire generation vanished. This is their story.

Watch the Full film on Journeyman:


Or for downloads and more information:


First the junta murdered their sons and daughters. Then, it stole their grandchildren. Under Argentina’s harsh military dictatorship, an entire generation vanished. Amongst the tens of thousands of disappeared were hundreds of pregnant women. Mothers-to-be were tortured, blindfolded while giving birth and murdered. Babies were raised by their parent’s killers. Today the children and parents of the disappeared are forcing Argentina to confront its past.

August 2007

By César Uco:

Secret minutes of Argentine military junta found

23 November 2013

On November 1, Argentina’s defense minister, Agustin Rossi, announced the discovery of 1,500 documents including 280 sets of secret minutes of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled the country for six years. The defense minister told reporters, “We found six original folders of minutes of the military juntas, all secret records from March 1976 until 1983.”

According to Rossi, the documents, stamped secret, were found in the basement of the Condor building, the headquarters of the Argentine Air Force. Included among them, he said were “Thirteen original minutes which exhaustively review Papel Prensa,” Argentina’s largest newsprint company, which was subjected to a forced takeover under the dictatorship.

Among the documents that have come to light are plans drawn up by the junta projecting that the military would remain in power until 2000. This was spelled out in the “Plan of Action” of the junta’s planning chief, General Diaz Bessone, which saw the foundational work of the dictatorship continuing into the 1990s, followed by a “new republic” that would continue at least into 2000.

Also found were four blacklists compiled by the dictatorship, targeting Argentine citizens according to their degree of “Marxist” activity. The dictatorship compiled hundreds of names under the title “prohibited persons.”

The first blacklist found is dated April 6, 1979 and lists 285 individuals under the “Formula 4” category, denoting, according to the military, a “Marxist ideological background.” The defense ministry stressed that although there was no outright ban on employing these individuals, “in practice, it didn’t work like that; no section of the privately owned media would hire someone identified as ‘Formula 4’.”

“Formula 2” included the names of people whose backgrounds “did not allow their unfavorable classification from the standpoint of Marxist ideological views.”

Under “Formula 3”, the dictatorship recorded the names of those who had “some Marxist ideological background, but not enough to constitute an insurmountable barrier to appointment, promotion, granting of scholarships, and so on.”

Finally, there was “Formula 1” a list that included those suspected of being enemies of the dictatorship but having “no Marxist ideological background”.

If the only ones explicitly proscribed from working in a public agency were those listed as “Formula 4,” under the dictatorship’s regime of brutal repression, including the persecution, imprisonment, torture and killing of tens of thousand of people considered enemies of the dictatorship, it is clear that all four of the junta’s blacklists served to intimidate both the public and private sectors from hiring anyone named on any one of them.

The first “Formula 4” list included trade unionists, journalists, broadcasters, lawyers, teachers and a large number of people affiliated with the arts, including novelists, musicians, painters, actors, poets and sculptors.

Among the names on this list—reserved for those with a “Marxist ideological background”—was that of the author of the novel “Hopscotch” and short stories such as “Blow-up” and “Bestiary,” Julio Cortazar, who was considered one of the most innovative writers of his time, greatly influencing an entire generation of Latin America writers.

Also on the list were artists who dedicated themselves to composing and performing music that expressed the reality of the working people of Argentina and Latin America. The name of Mercedes Sosa, known as the “Voice of America” and founder of the New Song Movement, appears prominently.

Also on this list was another extraordinary representative of Latin American indigenous music, the famous singer and writer Atahualpa Yupanqui.

The “Formula 4” list also included individuals from other countries such as the Spanish singer Juan Manuel Serrat and the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.

Among the journalists singled out is Jacobo Timerman. Founder of the newspaper La Opinion, he was kidnapped by the dictatorship in 1977 and released three years later after an international campaign for his freedom. He is the author of “Prisoner without a name, cell without a number,” recounting the horror he experienced in the junta’s clandestine detention centers.

After Argentina’s defeat in the Malvinas War, the dictatorship issued its last “Formula 4” list in September 1982 with 46 names on it. The dictatorship, discredited, politically weakened and hated for its acts of repression, apparently saw the shortening of the list as a step in the transition to a democratic regime.

At the end of the dictatorship, the military junta denied the existence of the secret minutes. The last head of the junta, the former general Reynaldo Bignone, had ordered the destruction of these records before handing over power to the elected president Raúl Alfonsín in1983.

The most immediately explosive revelations from the discovered records concern documents related to Papel Prensa (Newsprint), a company whose fate was intimately bound up with the military dictatorship. Founded in 1969 under the dictatorship of General Juan Carlo Onganía, it had as its aim the monopolization of the production of pulp and paper.

From 1973, Papel Prensa was in the hands of David Graiver, who died in August 1976 in a suspicious plane crash in Mexico. In the days following his death, the daily newspapers El Clarín, La Nación and the magazines Fuentes and Somos accused Graiver of having had links with the Peronist guerrilla group, the Montoneros.

Under pressure from the new military junta headed by General Jorge Rafael Videla, in a transaction of dubious legality, Papel Prensa became the property of Clarin, La Nacion and La Razon, with the military government as their partner.

As of March 1977, Graiver’s widow and other family members were illegally detained. A month later, La Opinion editor Jacobo Timerman was also illegally arrested, supposedly in connection with the case of Graiver, who owned shares in the newspaper. All of them were taken to clandestine detention and torture centers. Graiver’s father, brother and widow, Lidia, all reported being tortured and threatened with death to compel them to surrender their interests in Papel Prensa.

In addition to the business connection, Timerman was linked to the Graivers because both he and they were Jewish, and the fascist-military regime was rabidly anti-Semitic, torturing the newspaper editor to confess to “Zionist conspiracies.”

In the end, the military was able to use the company to control the written media, as Papel Prensa exercised a monopoly on newsprint. Its objective was to ensure that nothing was published that exposed the military’s crimes or provoked resistance to the junta.

The case is still a major controversy in Argentina. In April 2011, the Federal Prosecutor of La Plata classified as a “crime against humanity the events surrounding the transfer of shares of the Papel Prensa company between 1976 and 1977.”

“The silence of the daily papers La Nación, Clarín and La Razón during all that happened under the dictatorship was rewarded with the Papel Prensa business,” Hector Timerman, the son of the late journalist and current Argentine foreign minister testified in court proceedings last year. “They kidnapped my father and they turned over Papel Prensa to the directors of these newspapers.”

The case has become an increasingly prominent theme in the ongoing confrontation between the government of President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner and the major media firms, particularly that of the Clarín group, which in addition to the daily paper reportedly controlled some 200 radio and television licenses. It vehemently opposed anti-trust provisions of an Audiovisual Media Law introduced by the government to replace statutes imposed under the dictatorship, posing the threat to its monopoly interests as an attack on the “freedom of the press.”

Argentina’s Financial Information Unit, a regulatory agency, went to court on Monday seeking a restraining order against any transfer of assets of Papel Prensa. The court filing cited the danger to the country’s “economic and financial order” posed by the firm’s monopoly on newsprint production and asked to be a party to the existing court case on the grounds that the “illicit” transfer of the company to the owners of the major media groups may have broken laws against “laundering of assets.”

Great spotted woodpeckers, video

This video is about an adult male great spotted woodpecker and its youngster.

Henk Lammers from the Netherlands made the video.

Great spotted woodpecker female photo: here.

Invasive American minks may threaten the largest woodpecker species in South America, according to new research. The Magellanic woodpecker — a relative of the extinct ivory-billed woodpecker — lives throughout the Andes of Chile and Argentina. The large birds only produce one offspring per year and maintain broad territorial boundaries of about 1 square kilometer (0.4 square miles) per male-female pair, limiting the density and growth of their population: here.

Argentine ex-dictator Videla dies

This video says about itself:

Executions & torture (English subtitles)

As part of an open letter to the Argentine dictators by 1977. The dry submarine, the lighter, and other terrible torture methods are described. Thousands of executions w/o judgement, assasinations, kidnappings by the repressive military system.

From the BBC:

17 May 2013 Last updated at 15:59 GMT …

Former Argentine military leader Jorge Rafael Videla has died aged 87 while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

He is reported to have died from natural causes in prison.

The general was jailed in 2010 for the deaths of 31 dissidents during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, of which he was overall leader until 1981.

Up to 30,000 people were tortured and killed during this period, in a campaign known as the “Dirty War”.

Gen Videla had been sentenced to life in prison for torture, murder and other crimes in 1985, but was pardoned in 1990 under an amnesty given by the president at the time, Carlos Menem.

In April 2010, the Supreme Court upheld a 2007 federal court move to overturn his pardon.

Eight months later he was found “criminally responsible” for the torture and deaths of 31 prisoners and jailed for life.

Most of the left-wing activists were taken from their cells in the central city of Cordoba and shot dead shortly after the military took power.

The army said at the time that they were killed while trying to escape.

Gen Videla was one of 30 members of the security forces charged with the murders.

‘A bad man’

Last year, he was also convicted of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners.

At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents while they were held in detention centres.

More than 100 children given for adoption to military or police couples have since been reunited with their biological families.

A court in Buenos Aires sentenced Videla to 50 years in prison, while another ex-military leader, Reynaldo Bignone, received 15 years for his alleged role in the crime. …

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of Latin America for US-based Human Rights Watch, said Videla presided over one of the region’s cruellest repressions in modern times.

“He was arrogant to the end and unwilling to acknowledge his responsibility for the massive atrocities committed in Argentina,” he said.

“Many of the secrets of the repression will die with him.”

Argentina’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel told Reuters news agency: “Death has brought an end to his physical existence but not what he did against the people.”

The head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association that works to uncover the real identities of the stolen children, described Videla as a “bad man”.

“I’m reassured that a discredited man has departed this world,” said Estela de Carloto in a statement to local media.

Videla was born in 1925, the son of an army colonel.

In 1976, he and two other military leaders staged a coup against President Isabel Peron, the widow of former leader Juan Domingo Peron.

Argentina’s General Videla and the “war on terror”: here.

The secret papers of the Argentine dictatorship discovered: here.